Col. E.H. Taylor Warehouse C Tornado Surviving Bourbon. That’s a mouthful of a name and a whiskey that lives up to it. In his excellent book Bourbon, Straight: The Uncut and Unfiltered Story of American Whiskey, Charles Chowdery has an entire chapter on Taylor who he calls “the single most significant individual in the history of American whiskey”. A Colonel only as an honorary commission given to him by the Governor of Kentucky (think Col. Sanders) and not a distiller he was instrumental in transforming american whiskey from a farming by-product to a significant industry and working to promote and protect that industry including pushing for the Bottled-in-Bond act of 1897. According to Chowdery, Taylor was directly involved in founding at least seven distilleries. One of these did business where the Buffalo Trace distillery stands today. And that’s where this particular Bourbon comes in.
In April 2006 a Tornado ripped through a few of Buffalo Trace’s warehouses destroying much of the roof and walls of warehouse C exposing 24,000 barrels of whiskey to the elements. This warehouse was built by Col. E.H. Taylor in 1881 and the whiskey was part of Buffalo Trace’s E.H. Taylor line. The barrels were unharmed but while repairs were made to the warehouse they stayed in the open air and heat of the Kentucky summer. The blistering heat caused an high rate of evaporation with around 64% lost to the “angels share”, near twice the normal amount. Figuring they had something special, in 2011 they bottled 93 barrels from the top floors of the warehouse between 9 years 8 months and 11 years 11 months at Bonded 100 Proof, slapped a long ass cool sounding name (and fairly steep price tag around $70) on it and shipped it out.
This is a big bourbon. The nose is citrus, spicy rye, vanilla and caramel. Taste is more rye, burnt caramel, dark candied orange, and some more hints of citrus and spiciness with a slightly creamy background. Finish is long and has more orange, burnt sugar, cinnamon and spice. All that time out in the KY sun did a trick on this whiskey. Temperature extremes are known to increase aging whiskey’s interaction with the wood of the barrel. This whiskey proves that and some. It screams deep concentration of flavors and wood yet remains fairly balanced. At bonded proof you get some alcohol burn but it fits in well with the dense flavors and complexity. While not widely available it’s worth picking up if you come across any. It does have a steep price tag at around $70.00 but with the back story and fact you probably won’t find this particular circumstance again it is well worth it. 100 Proof Recommended